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Subject: "Distorted Destiny" variant rss

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Just a Bill
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Have you ever wished your various destiny cards were getting shuffled with similar frequency? No? Yeah, I didn't think so; that's just for nuts like me.

Anyway, here's a variant that uses the destiny cards that usually just sit in the box. Attentive readers will notice that I am plagiarizing a color-coding scheme I came up with in my proposal for the old Assessor alien power by Eon.
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Just a Bill
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"DISTORTED DESTINY" VARIANT

DISTORTED DESTINY is a variant for Cosmic Encounter that turns your unused destiny cards into an instant mini-expansion. It can be used with any number of players and with or without expansion sets, although these variables will of course have an influence on how it plays out.

SETUP

After the destiny deck has been prepared, take all of the unused, "extra" destiny cards that do not correspond to any players in the game (including the Invasion! cards if you have Cosmic Conflict and the Invader is not playing). Shuffle them into the cosmic deck.

These cards in the cosmic deck will be referred to as "extra" destiny cards, to distinguish them from the "core" destiny cards in the destiny deck.

Note: If you have so many players that there aren't any extra destiny cards, fear not! Just keep reading, and then continue on to the Double Distortion version.

ACQUIRING, USING, AND DISCARDING DISTORTED DESTINY CARDS

Throughout the game, "extra" destiny cards from the cosmic deck will find their way into players' hands. A destiny card in the cosmic deck or your hand is considered a "distorted" destiny; it may be played from your hand as though it had the game text described in the next section. (A distorted destiny's normal game text about having an encounter is ignored unless the replacement text specifically refers to it.)

Distorted destiny cards are always discarded after use. Whenever one of these "extra" destinies should be discarded, it goes to the cosmic deck discard pile (not the destiny discard pile). Destiny cards in the cosmic deck discard pile are treated like other discards: they can be retrieved using an appropriate effect such as Space Junk or Delta Scanners, and when the deck is exhausted, they are included in the shuffle to form a new deck.

These cards can, of course, be traded in deals, taken as compensation, and so on. When taking cards at random from a player's hand, you are allowed to see the card backs (as is the case with reward-back cards). Thus you can either choose or avoid the distorted destiny cards.

Distorted destiny cards are non-encounter cards for any effect that needs to distinguish them from encounter cards. They are not artifacts or flares, and thus cannot be canceled by Card Zap. Hazard warnings on destiny cards have no effect on the Distorted Destiny variant.

DISTORTED EFFECTS

Each distorted destiny card is associated with a particular game component or action. Most have two different effects that you can choose between, which are generally to either retrieve or enhance that particular item, or cancel one use of it. The specific effects are explained below, and then summarized in a Player Reference section in the next post. As a memory aid, the colored destiny cards are associated with game components that prominently feature the same (or a similar) color.

Red Affects an attack card.
Green Affects a negotiate card.
Purple Affects a reinforcement card.
Yellow Affects a kicker or Wild flare.
Blue Affects an artifact or Super flare.
Black Affects an alien power.
Orange Affects the hyperspace gate.
White Affects the warp.
Invasion! Inserts an extra encounter.

Red, Green, Purple, Yellow, or Blue — At any time, search any discard pile and take one card of the appropriate type to add to your hand. [OR] Cancel and discard one card of the appropriate type that was just played or revealed. If a main player's encounter card is canceled, that player must either play another encounter card from his or her hand to replace it, or lose the encounter.
• For example, Purple can be played either to cancel a reinforcement card that was just played, or to fetch any reinforcement card from the cosmic deck discard pile or the reward deck discard pile.

• If, for example, Red is played to cancel a main player's attack card that was just revealed in an encounter, that main player must choose to either lose the encounter, or play another encounter card from hand. The replacement encounter card does not have to be another attack: it could be a morph or negotiate (even if Loser declared an upset). Also, the player is not required to play another card; he or she can choose to lose the encounter.

• If you play Yellow to search the discard pile for a flare, it must be one that you can currently play as a Wild flare. If you play Blue to search the discard pile for a flare, it must be one that you can currently play as a Super flare.


Black — At any time, discard one of your current alien powers and replace it with a new one. Draw two flares from the unused flare deck and choose one of those aliens to replace the one you discarded. Shuffle both of the flares into the deck (you need not show the extra one to the other players). Before making your choice, if any of the aliens that match the flares you drew have Game Setup text or are not allowed in the current game, you may remove those flare(s) from the game and draw replacement(s). [OR] Cancel one use of an alien power (this counts as a Cosmic Zap, but cannot be Card Zapped).

Orange — When sending your ships to the hyperspace gate, send as many as you wish (i.e., more than 4, or more than 1 as Macron). [OR] Cancel any player's attempt to send ships to the hyperspace gate. The player fails to become an ally, or (if he or she is the offense) continues the encounter with zero ships.

White — At any time, choose any player to retrieve 3 ships from the warp. [OR] Cancel the sending of one or more of your ships to the warp. They return to colonies instead.

Invasion! — Play after the end of any player's encounter. Immediately have an extra encounter with any player of your choice, targeting one of that player's colonies in any system or one of his or her home planets. After this encounter, regardless of the outcome, play continues where it left off (with the appropriate player continuing or ending his or her turn). [OR] Cancel and discard another player's Invasion! distorted destiny and immediately have an extra encounter against that player.

What if I have too many players?

In the basic Distorted Destiny variant, only certain destiny cards — the ones that do not correspond to the players in the game — can find their way into a hand. Thus, depending on the colors chosen by the players, only some of the distorted effects will be available (or none will be, if every player color is taken). If you usually have fewer players than the number of colors available, and different colors are left out from game to game, then the basic variant should provide adequate variety. But if you often max out your player colors, or are tired of seeing the same two or three distorted effects in play, you may wish to consider the next section.

DOUBLE DISTORTION

Double Distortion is an "advanced version" of the variant that allows all distorted destiny effects to come into play via some extra rules. It thus adds more variety at the cost of more complexity. It follows all the rules of the basic version, and adds two more rules listed below.

Addition 1: Distortion Rewards

Whenever a player receives one or more rewards, that player may choose to take one of those rewards (and only one) in the form of a "core" destiny card from the top of the destiny deck. Whenever one of these core destinies should be discarded later, it goes to the destiny discard pile (not the cosmic deck discard pile).

All core and extra destiny cards received as rewards, drawn from the deck, stolen from other players, traded in deals, etc. have distorted effects and may be played from players' hands as described earlier. Because some of these cards come from the destiny deck, there are now two additional kinds of cards that can be played from the hand (and then discarded) for their distorted effects:

Wild — At any time, search the destiny discard pile or the cosmic deck discard pile and take one destiny card to add to your hand. [OR] Cancel and discard any one distorted destiny card that was just played.

Special — Play at the start of another player's encounter if that player is the one specified by the Special destiny card's text. That player must choose to either (a) allow you to establish a colony on any planet where he or she has a colony, or (b) immediately end his or her turn.
• For example, you hold the Special that says "Have an encounter with the player who has the fewest ships in the warp (other than you). In the event of a tie, break the tie to your left." The only player who currently has ships in the warp is Yellow, resulting in a three-way tie for zero between you, Green, and Red. Green is sitting closest to your left, so you may play this card at the start of Green's encounter and Green must make a choice.


Addition 2: Destiny Overrides

Any core destiny card in your hand may be used as your normal destiny draw when you are the offense. After (or instead of) drawing destiny normally, simply play a core destiny card from your hand and proceed as though you had drawn that card for destiny.

If you do this after drawing normally, your played card takes the place of the earlier draw for destiny purposes, but any side-effects of that draw — such as Shadow, Poison, or a hazard card — will still take place, as will any side-effects of your played card. So in certain circumstances, you may wish to play a core destiny card from your hand right away to avoid that risk.

An extra destiny card cannot be used as an override, because it does not correspond to any player in the game. A core destiny card may be used as an override or played for its distorted effect, depending on whichever use you find most advantageous.
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Just a Bill
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DISTORTED DESTINY PLAYER REFERENCE (ABBREVIATED)

Rules

• When receiving rewards, one of them many come from the top of the destiny deck (Double Distortion variant only).
• You may play a core destiny as your encounter destiny, before or after drawing normally.
• You may play any distorted destiny as described below.
Core destinies from the destiny deck are discarded to the destiny discard pile after use.
Extra destinies from the cosmic deck are discarded to the cosmic discard pile after use.
• Random selections are made with full knowledge of the card backs.
• Distorted destinies are non-encounter cards.


Effects

Red — At any time, search any discard pile and take one attack card. [OR] Cancel one main player's attack card that was just revealed. That player must either play a replacement card from his or her hand or lose the encounter.

Green — At any time, search any discard pile and take one negotiate card. [OR] Cancel one main player's negotiate card that was just revealed. That player must either play a replacement card from his or her hand or lose the encounter.

Purple — At any time, search any discard pile and take one reinforcement card. [OR] Cancel one reinforcement card that was just played.

Yellow — At any time, search any discard pile and take one kicker or one flare that you can play as a Wild flare. [OR] Cancel one kicker or Wild flare that was just revealed or played.

Blue — At any time, search any discard pile and take one artifact or one flare that you can play as a Super flare. [OR] Cancel one artifact or Super flare that was just played.

Black — At any time, discard your alien power and replace it with a new one. Draw two flares from the unused flare deck and choose one of those aliens to replace the one you discarded. Shuffle both of the flares into the deck. [OR] Cosmic Zap one use of an alien power.

Orange — When sending your ships to the hyperspace gate, send as many as you wish. [OR] Cancel any player's attempt to send ships to the hyperspace gate. The player fails to become an ally, or (if the offense) continues the encounter with zero ships.

White — At any time, choose any player to retrieve 3 ships from the warp. [OR] Cancel the sending of one or more of your ships to the warp. They return to colonies instead.

Invasion! — Play after the end of any encounter. Immediately have an extra encounter with any other player, targeting one of that player's colonies in any system or one of his or her home planets. [OR] Cancel another player's Invasion! distorted destiny and immediately have an extra encounter against that player.

Wild — At any time, search any discard pile and take one destiny card. [OR] Cancel any distorted destiny card.

Special — Play at the start of another player's encounter if that player is the one specified by the Special destiny card's text. That player must choose to either (a) allow you to establish a colony on any planet where he or she has a colony, or (b) immediately end his or her turn.
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Just a Bill
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After feedback and playtesting, if there is enough interest, I'm thinking of photoshopping up some destiny inserts that would have both sets of game text on the card: one text block for normal destiny use, and another with the distorted effect. A few dozen card sleeves later, and voila! No reference sheet needed.

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Just a Bill
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If you like this, you might want to try "Active Hazards" which lets players use hazard cards actively, like artifacts.


Also, the (somewhat less complex) "Schismic Encounter" Variant provides another way to bend existing cards into new uses.


Schismic Encounter was inspired by the fact that I don't like card slots in an expansion set being wasted on one specific alien (and a pretty boring one at that).
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Evan Coolen
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Very interesting. I see you put a lot of thought into this one. I will propose this to our regular group and try this out.
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Andy Leber
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LOVE the idea, and I particularly like that it's something that is so simple to implement... no custom printing or sleeves necessary. I can't wait to see/hear how it plays.

Great stuff Bill.
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Jack of Clubs
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Is there a particular timing method you require or recommend for choosing player colors and aliens? That is, do I choose my color first or my alien power first?

Certain powers go with certain colors, for example, if I am the Warpish or Sadist, I would especially like to be white, since it means other players won't have an easy way of getting ships out of the warp. If I am the Vulch, I likely want to be blue, so no one else can pick up or cancel my artifacts.
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Just a Bill
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Phil Fleischmann wrote:
Is there a particular timing method you require or recommend for choosing player colors and aliens?

Just follow the normal rules: choosing player colors is step 1 of game setup.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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When you say take card type X from any discard pile, do you mean "search the deck", i.e. it does not only refer to the visible top card? You should make this more clear/unambiguous.

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Just a Bill
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a1bert wrote:
When you say take card type X from any discard pile, do you mean "search the deck", i.e. it does not only refer to the visible top card? You should make this more clear/unambiguous.

Good call. I've changed the wordings to "search and take" format. Thanks!
 
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Shane Brewer
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Very nice. I look forward to giving this one a shot.
 
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Asbjørn Lie Parmer
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This is really interesting! Thanks, Bill
 
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Hugo L
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Anyone has feedback to share on this one ?
 
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mar hawkman
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such as?

It's a rather interesting idea, but not one I've had a chance to try.
 
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